Influence of Morphological Traits on Wood Litter Production


SNIC 2017/3-55


SNAC Small

Principal Investigator:

Raffaele Rani


Umeå universitet

Start Date:


End Date:


Primary Classification:

10105: Beräkningsmatematik




Wood-litterfall is among the principal factors determining carbon accumulation in soil. Understanding the mechanisms that give rise to this process is therefore an important task for the estimation of carbon balances of forests and to develop management practices which balance timber production with carbon sequestration (Franklin et al. 2012). In fire-prone areas, wood litterfall is an important facilitator of forest fires, but a predictive theory of fire risk based on the rate of wood litterfall, branch diameter distributions have yet to be developed. In this study, we investigate how morphological traits (e.g. branching angle, metamer length and branching frequency) affect the wood litter production. Similar questions have been studied theoretically using continuous population dynamics models, e.g., Falster et al. (2011) and the dependence of ecosystem processes on traits has long been investigated (Eviner 2004). We use an L-systems (Lindenmayer & Prusinkiewicz 1990) based model introduced by Sterck & Schieving (2007). The model follows the fundamental physiological principles of plant growth and accounts for the age and weight of a plant’s constituent parts. The model provided promising results when investigating the effects of size, shading, carbon economy, meristem population and reproductive allocation on the ontogenetic patterns in 3-D growth and structure. The project aims to elucidate how differences in architectural and physiological traits between species affect the rate of biomass loss due to branch turnover. In addition, as various architectural strategies show different patterns in the size-dependence of biomass loss, we hypothesize that growth efficiency (fraction of biomass lost due to branch turnover) is inversely proportional to crown width. REFERENCES Eviner, V. 2004. Plant traits that influence ecosystem processes vary independently among species. Ecology 85(8):2215–2229 Falster D.S., Bränsström, Å, Dieckmann, U, Westoby, M. 2011. Influence of four major plant traits on average height, leaf-area cover, net primary productivity, and biomass density in single-species forests: a theoretical investigation. Journal of Ecology 99:148-164 Franklin, O., Johansson, J., Dewar, R.C., Dieckmann, U., McMurtrie, R.E., Brännström, Å., Dybzinski, R. 2012. Modeling carbon allocation in trees: a search for principles. Tree Physiology 32(6):648-66. Lindenmayer A., Prusinkiewicz P., 1990. The algorithmic beauty of plants. Springer-Verlag, New York Sterck, F.J., Schieving, F. 2007. 3-D growth patterns of trees: effects of carbon economy, meristem activity, and selection. Ecologival Monographs 77(3):405-420